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The Minimalist Writer

Along the city wall in York, England – a bow window used in the time of war. It’s all about focus!

As a writer, I can get caught up in FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Each time a new blog post or newsletter alerts me of a webinar I must attend, a book I should be reading, or a social media task I need to engage in, I get panicky.

Which is the most important? What if I make the wrong choice?

 

There is too much to do in a limited timeframe. Authors have families, other jobs, people and pets to care for, let alone places we’d like to go – just like anyone else. How do we fit it all in??

Can I make a suggestion?

We don’t need to!

As far as I’m concerned, there are only seven things we authors MUST do . . .

READ. WRITE. CONNECT. CRITIQUE. SUBMIT. INSPIRE. MENTOR.

Sound easy? It is!

 

#1 READ

Books that

– intrigue
– inspire
– inform

In addition, you must read in the genre you are writing in. And occasionally, to shake things up, choose a genre you would not normally read, or try an e-book or an audiobook. You’d be amazed at how a story gains another dimension when you listen to the words.

Join Goodreads, and find fellow readers who will share their favs. And you, in turn, can recommend yours.

 

#2 WRITE

For obvious reasons, if you are going to be a writer, you need to, well, write!

Every day, in some way.

It could be a letter. A blog post. A one-page prompt. An entry in your diary. Some creativity needs to flow from your pen.

I find having a weekly blog post forces me to write. Sometimes, being part of a challenge like NaNoWriMo brings out the creative juices. Or perhaps you work better with prompts. You can find prompts online or in a book. Take your pick.

 

The Charles Dickens Museum

 

#3 CONNECT

Connecting with others is a must — readers, writers, and professionals (agents and editors).

How is that done?

Through Social Media — pick one!

Facebook: if you love to post links, ask questions, share your travel pics, post cute animal photos, and share FB posts with others.

Pinterest: if you love to categorize images in a visual file for future reference, collect images for your next book, or writing tips to use later.

Twitter: if you can be succinct, love to connect with professionals, use GIFs and images, and ask questions or participate in pitch parties, etc.

Instagram: if you are all about a single photo, love to go live, to inspire others, and can tell a story in one image, but don’t necessarily care to share.

Also, writers’ groups like 12×12 are a great way to connect. You will find your friend list and writing skills growing faster than you ever thought possible! Memberships to professional organizations like SCBWI and ACFW are a must.

 

#4 CRITIQUE

Every writer needs a critique group. You can’t write in a vacuum. You need others to point out flaws in your writing, so you can perfect it. If signing a contract with an agent or editor is on your wishlist, then you need critique buddies to help you get that manuscript in shape.

The groups I’ve mentioned above will have critique groups to join as well as Word Weavers International, specifically conceived to help writers perfect their manuscripts in a friendly environment. They gather online or in person to encourage one another in their writing pursuits.

 

#5 SUBMIT

Of course, if you are going to be published, you need to submit! Here is a comprehensive guide to help you. Find the Writer’s Market 2020 here. The guide gives you tips of all sorts, and the categories are divided according to genre, subject, and type of publication. For those who write faith-based works, The Christian Writer’s Market Guide is a must-read.

And don’t forget the importance of writers’ conferences such as our own Write2Ignite and others like The SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.     Each year, you have the opportunity to schedule appointments with agents and editors who might be waiting to publish your story!

 

#6 INSPIRE!

I don’t know about you, but I need to get out every so often and be inspired. Since I am a historical fiction writer, nothing gets my little grey cells working more than a trip to a historical town or museum. When I visited Bath, England years ago, my daughter and I had tea at this famous bun shop.

When we finished our treats, I visited the tiny museum in the basement of the shop which you see below. There was a small sign indicating that the woman who started the shop was a Huguenot girl who escaped persecution and fled to England. That tidbit of info was all I needed to begin my story, which I titled “Because of a Bun: Soli’s Saving Grace”.

 

 

#7 MENTOR

Just as the Brontë sisters mentored each other, and modern-day writers, too, as their classics wind their way into our hearts, we as writers need to find someone a bit farther behind us to come beside us on our journey. Have coffee with them and ask about their projects. Give them links to helpful resources. Offer to critique a story for them. They will thank you, and someday, do the same for another.

Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below!


 

The Heart Changer - MG Historical Fiction
Jarm Del Boccio’s debut MG Historical Fiction, “The Heart  Changer”

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer, released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  Purchase The Heart Changer HEREJarm loves reviews, as does any author! 

Here’s a handy Teachers’ Guide to use with The Heart Changer as a unit study.


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on the lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history. Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

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Looking for an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up? **PLUS A GIVEAWAY**


Here’s a sneak peek at conference presenters with descriptions in their own words. We’ll be posting a teaser page each  Monday. You still have time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

To register, visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

Kim Peterson – Selling Snappy Sidebars

Sidebars fill the pages of magazines, our computer screens, and even some TV shows. Sidebars are short articles that accompany and relate to a larger work, yet they present a different angle. With today’s online and “everything now” mentality, these high-demand mini pieces often serve as the article. Come to this workshop to learn why editors, writers, and readers love sidebars. We’ll also examine the different types, how to be creative in assembling a sidebar, and how to write these snappy pieces to entertain and inform readers. You’ll soon be providing the extras your editor craves.

 

 

Vijaya Bodach – Writing Memoir (Part II): Being a Witness—Writing the Most Important Story

Can you think of any modern-day witnesses? These are people who questioned Christianity and found it to be true! And they will do anything to keep this Pearl, this Treasure, this Gift. Can you state the reason for your hope in Christ? Allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you. We are now living in a post-Christian society. We have the greatest number of people who have no religious affiliation. They are the “nones” (not to be confused with nuns). It is YOUR story that will make a difference in their lives, as you sow seeds of faith and hope in them. Yes, I’m looking at YOU!

 

Terri Kelly – How to Write Devotions for Children

Turn yourself into a writing machine. Don’t you want to publish a children’s picture book or a magazine article for teens? How about a middle-grade chapter book or nonfiction for children? There is a surefire way to sharpen your story: Write Devotions. In How to Write Devotions for Children, you’ll learn a simplified method that you can apply to all writing. Not only will you walk away with a plan for a publishable devotion to the best audience in the world—our children, you’ll gain a writing tool belt to wear for life.

 

Edie Melson – Writing for the YA Audience

We live in a world with a savvy and sophisticated young adult population. In their young lives—through media and the ready availability of digital information—they’ve been exposed to a lifetime of experiences. The first rule of YA writing is respect—respect for our audience, and respect for their experiences and opinions. The second rule is authenticity. Our YA readers can spot a fake a mile away. This workshop will cover the mindsets and expectations of this audience. We’ll discuss how this mindset affects our writing in multiple genres and for different age groups.

 

Tessa Emily Hall – Create Book Buzz by Coordinating a Blog Tour

Marketing isn’t always an author’s best friend—but in today’s publishing landscape, it’s a requirement. What if I told you it could be both exciting and cost-effective? And that, even with no prior marketing experience, you could reach readers from the comfort of your own home? 

This is what I have found to be the case through coordinating blog tours for my own books. Coordinating these tours have proven to be a powerful strategy to reach target readers and spread online buzz surrounding a new release. By tapping into my passion for the book, I have discovered how to create unique tours that invite my target readers to share in this excitement. 

Come to my workshop, Create a Book Buzz with a Blog Tour, and learn these five steps on how to kick off your virtual tour from the ground up—in a way that is both organized and efficient. You will also discover secrets on how to infuse your passion with creativity to brainstorm unique and fun content for your tour. 

Who knows? After coordinating your first blog tour, you might realize that marketing isn’t your worst enemy after all.

Steve Hutson – Why You’re Not Getting Published: Rejection-Proof Submissions

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things they won’t tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

GIVEAWAY

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Are You Willing to Be Rejected?

Nobody likes to be rejected. And when we’ve poured ourselves into a writing project, only to see it rejected by agents and editors, it’s easy to take that rejection personally.

“My manuscript isn’t good enough.”

“My writing skills aren’t good enough.”

I’m not good enough.”

Is that true?

Before you believe the lie that you’re not good enough, consider the truth.

Maybe your manuscript does need more work. And maybe your writing skills could use improvement.

Or maybe the agent just signed an author who writes in the same genre you do. Or maybe the editor knows he can’t contract your book because his company is releasing a book on the same topic in a few months. Sometimes a rejection has nothing to do with you or your skills and everything to do with timing.

Then again, maybe the timing is fine, but you and the agent or editor simply have different likes.

Agents Are Human

I attended a writers conference years ago where agent Steve Laube served on the faculty. Participating in an agent panel, Steve mentioned that agents don’t always make the right call. He cited a well-known author whom he regretted rejecting several years earlier. During the Q & A session, several multi-published authors prefaced their questions by noting (with a laugh) that Steve had also rejected them. He finally asked the audience to raise their hands if they had been rejected by his agency. I lost count of the hands raised across the room as laughter erupted.

Agents are fallible!

Editors Are Fallible Too

Are you familiar with the anthology series, Chicken Soup for the Soul? The authors spent 3 years developing the first volume and finally published it in 1993, after 140 publishers rejected it. Thirty-three publishers turned them down in the first month alone! Their agent finally returned their manuscript, saying, “I can’t sell this.” Yet in more than 20 years, the series has sold more than 115 million copies with 250 titles, and there are more to come. Inspirational “soup” books have been published for kids, teenagers, parents, women, couples, dentists, sports fans, veterans, nurses, pet lovers, chiropractors, and others.

Yes, editors don’t always recognize a bestseller, either!

Rejection Can Be a Stepping Stone

Author and teacher Kay Arthur once shared an illustration of a donkey that fell into an abandoned well. After many failed attempts to rescue it, the farmer reluctantly decided to end the donkey’s life. So he began to shovel dirt into the well. But with each shovelful that landed on its back, the donkey shook the dirt off and stamped it down. Eventually the farmer observed that the donkey stood a little closer to the top because the additional dirt had raised the floor. The farmer continued shoveling, and the donkey was able to step out of the well.

You and I can use rejection as a stepping stone too. We can use the added time to

  • research agents and editors for a better fit
  • improve our writing skills
  • learn more about the genre we’re writing in
  • join a critique group for objective feedback
  • draw near to the Lord to learn what He may want to teach us
  • encourage other writers who are facing similar circumstances

Don’t take rejection personally. Use it to grow into the person and writer God created you to be!

How has rejection helped you be a better writer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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The Tale of Three Authors

Cheri Cowell I am an author/publisher. I began writing in 2000 with magazine articles and seven years later published my first book. Recently, I had my fourth traditionally published book release with Zondervan, but I find the most satisfaction in helping my fellow authors extend their reach through my company, EABooks Publishing. So here’s my opus, the Tale of Three Authors.

Amy* was considered a successful author with two books published by traditional publishing houses. However, there was one book she’d pitched and pitched and had been unable to sell. The book represented her heart’s cry and passion, and she wouldn’t rest until it was published.

Chip* was a leader in his local critique group, winning several writing awards and the admiration of many. Yet when he sat before editors at writers’ conferences, he performed poorly and never knew how to answer the platform question. He wasn’t good at selling himself or his work, but he was a good writer with a lot to say.

Bonnie* was a retired high school English teacher who’d married her high school sweetheart. Together they’d served as missionaries around the world. Now that her husband was gone and her years waning, she began to look at the legacy she was leaving. Her grandchildren loved the story she always told about a young girl in Bangladesh—a true story about a girl and her life of faith in a foreign land. Bonnie knew she didn’t have the funds most self-publishers were charging, and yet she didn’t fit the profile of the up-and-coming author the traditional publishers wanted to sink their money into. Was there a place for her in the publishing world?

These three writers found a place with EABooks Publishing

The same year Amy released two traditionally published books, she released the book of her passion as an e-book. She timed it perfectly to piggyback on the publicity from her traditionally published books. Now she knows that the message of her “passion book” is reaching people and making a difference.

Chip has published five books with EABooks Publishing, some as e-books and others as print-on-demand. He’s found a new outlet for his creativity, and with marketing help from EABooks, he’s developed a fan base. He’s even making a little money. His fans can’t wait for the release of his latest project—an audiobook.

It took Bonnie a long time to make her decision, but when she finally decided to go with EABooks Publishing, she found the whole process empowering. When her book began selling on Amazon, she sent a link to a friend, who decided to purchase hundreds of copies for the children’s home he supported. Bonnie would have been happy to sell only to her family and friends, but sharing the gospel with hundreds of needy children makes her heart sing.

This tale is still being written and has room for the stories of more authors! Come share yours with me—Cheri Cowell, owner and president of EABooks Publishing. I’d love to hear about your book!

*Names and genders have been changed, but these stories are true.

 

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Art Slam Live! October 3

tony-snipesWrite2Ignite! is sending two reps (Jean and Cathy) to ART SLAM LIVE at the Mauldin Center in Greenville, SC, this Saturday, October 3, 2015. Our purpose?? To give attendees a 20 minute one-on-one Speed Coaching Session on writing and publishing for emerging writers at ART SLAM LIVE! Visit  http://www.artslam.net/speedcoaching/  for information. But, hurry! The event is this Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.